For impartial and accurate professional diagnosis of alleged dampness

 

ABOUT DAMPNESS

As part of a Surveyor's inspection related to the mortgage valuation and / or Homebuyer's survey, they will check for dampness using an electrical conductance moisture meter most commonly manufactured by "Protimeter".

Dampness is one of the three most common defects found in domestic properties.

Use of Protimeter

The electrical moisture meter can only be used to accurately assess the level of moisture in timber. This was the task it was designed for! When used in other materials it can only record the presence of surface moisture and is unable to determine the true moisture content existing below the surface, i.e. within the wall.

Surface moisture can often occur in the base of external walls during the winter months especially if they are of solid construction (i.e. without a cavity).

The Surveyor is therefore only able to detect surface moisture and will often report: "there is evidence of dampness and remedial damp=proofing work in this respect is required". Alternatively: "that a specialist contractor on rising damp and timber defects be instructed to inspect and to carry out their recommendations in full."

The purchaser may then proceed to commission specialist remedial treatment contractors either selected from say, "Yellow Pages" or perhaps recommended by the Estate Agent to inspect and provide a report and estimate.

These contractors, who normally offer a free survey, also use electrical moisture meters and they are likely to report: "Random tests were carried out with a moisture meter to both internal and external wall at ground level. At the time of our inspection, high levels of dampness were obtained in the following areas... It is our opinion that these high levels of dampness found at the base of the aforementioned walls are attributed to rising dampness due to the absence of an effective damp proof course.

Broken exterior render

They would then recommend installation of an injected replacement damp proof course and associated internal re-plastering. This work would substantially disturb the existing internal decorations.

The contractors quote for the work they propose might conceivably total 2000. In addition, the mortgage lender may hold back a retention until the work the Contractor recommends is completed !

Obviously, the contractor's opinion that rising damp exists, has not been substantiated by any in-depth testing as recommended within Building Research Digest 245 "Rising Damp in Walls - diagnosis and treatment".

Additionally, it should be borne in mind that they have a vested commercial interest in recommending work that they would undertake.

For impartial and accurate professional diagnosis of alleged dampness, you may wish to contact us.